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      Ethnobotanical study of indigenous knowledge on medicinal plant use by traditional healers in Oshikoto region, Namibia

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          Abstract

          Background

          The objective of this study was to establish a regional profile of the indigenous knowledge system (IKS) for medicinal plant use and cultural practices associated with the healing process of these plants by traditional healers in the Oshikoto region, Namibia.

          Methods

          An ethnobotanical survey was undertaken to collect information from traditional healers during September and October 2008. Data was collected through the use of questionnaires and personal interviews during field trips in the ten constituencies of the Oshikoto region. A total of 47 respondents were interviewed with most of them aged 66 and above.

          Results

          The traditional healers in Oshikoto region use 61 medicinal plant species that belong to 25 families for the treatment of various diseases and disorders with the highest number of species being used for mental diseases followed by skin infection and external injuries. Trees (28 species) were found to be the most used plants followed by herbs (15 species), shrubs (10 species) and climbers (4 species). The average of the informant consensus factor (F IC) value for all ailment categories was 0.75. High F IC values were obtained for Pergularia daemia, and Tragia okanyua, which were reported to treat weakness and dizziness problems, snake bite, swelling and cardiovascular problems indicating that these species traditionally used to treat these ailments are worth examining for bioactive compounds.

          Conclusions

          The traditional healers in Oshikoto possess rich ethno-pharmacological knowledge. This study allows for identifying many high value medicinal plant species, indicating high potential for economic development through sustainable collection of these medicinal plants.

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          Most cited references20

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          Medicinal plants in Mexico: healers' consensus and cultural importance.

          Medicinal plants are an important element of indigenous medical systems in Mexico. These resources are usually regarded as part of a culture's traditional knowledge. This study examines the use of medicinal plants in four indigenous groups of Mexican Indians, Maya, Nahua, Zapotec and - for comparative purposes - Mixe. With the first three the methodology was similar, making a direct comparison of the results possible. In these studies, the relative importance of a medicinal plant within a culture is documented using a quantitative method. For the analysis the uses were grouped into 9-10 categories of indigenous uses. This report compares these data and uses the concept of informant consensus originally developed by Trotter and Logan for analysis. This indicates how homogenous the ethnobotanical information is. Generally the factor is high for gastrointestinal illnesses and for culture bound syndromes. While the species used by the 3 indigenous groups vary, the data indicate that there exist well-defined criteria specific for each culture which lead to the selection of a plant as a medicine. A large number of species are used for gastrointestinal illnesses by two or more of the indigenous groups. At least in this case, the multiple transfer of species and their uses within Mexico seems to be an important reason for the widespread use of a species. Medicinal plants in other categories (e.g. skin diseases) are usually known only in one culture and seem to be part of its traditional knowledge.
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            Medicinal plants used by traditional healers in Kancheepuram District of Tamil Nadu, India

            An ethnobotanical survey was undertaken to collect information from traditional healers on the use of medicinal plants in Kancheepuram district of Tamil Nadu during October 2003 to April 2004. The indigenous knowledge of local traditional healers and the native plants used for medicinal purposes were collected through questionnaire and personal interviews during field trips. The investigation revealed that, the traditional healers used 85 species of plants distributed in 76 genera belonging to 41 families to treat various diseases. The documented medicinal plants were mostly used to cure skin diseases, poison bites, stomachache and nervous disorders. In this study the most dominant family was Euphorbiaceae and leaves were most frequently used for the treatment of diseases. This study showed that many people in the studied parts of Kancheepuram district still continue to depend on medicinal plants at least for the treatment of primary healthcare. The traditional healers are dwindling in number and there is a grave danger of traditional knowledge disappearing soon since the younger generation is not interested to carry on this tradition.
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              Ethnobotanical study of knowledge and medicinal plants use by the people in Dek Island in Ethiopia.

              It reveals the trend of knowledge of medicinal plants and the documentation serves as a baseline data for future phytochemical and pharmacological studies. The medicinal plants are the integral part of the variety of cultures in Ethiopia and have been used over many centuries. Hence, the aim of this study is to assess knowledge specifically with regard to gender and age, and to document medicinal plants used by the people in Dek Island. The ethnobotanical surveys and quantitative analytical methods were used to study the level of knowledge and medicinal plants use in Dek Island. The male (mean=5.75+/-0.65; p or =40 years of age (mean=5.25+/-0.56; p<0.05) reported more medicinal plants. Age (p<0.05) and sex (p<0.05) have influence on knowledge of medicinal plants though sex (partial eta squared=0.496) has stronger influence than age. The medicinal plants uses showed similarity with other studies conducted in different cultural setups and locations. The trend of knowledge loss in both age categories and sexes implicates the likely risk of loss of knowledge. The documented data could be useful for future phytochemical and pharmacological studies.
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                Author and article information

                Journal
                J Ethnobiol Ethnomed
                Journal of Ethnobiology and Ethnomedicine
                BioMed Central
                1746-4269
                2011
                9 March 2011
                : 7
                : 10
                Affiliations
                [1 ]Science, Technology and Innovation Division, Multidisciplinary Research Centre- University of Namibia, Private Bag 13301, Windhoek, Namibia
                [2 ]Social Sciences Division, Multidisciplinary Research Centre-University of Namibia, Private Bag 13301, Windhoek, Namibia
                Article
                1746-4269-7-10
                10.1186/1746-4269-7-10
                3062575
                21388534
                a6f5c1c7-3bf5-4544-bd70-092f4aebe6fe
                Copyright ©2011 Cheikhyoussef et al; licensee BioMed Central Ltd.

                This is an Open Access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License ( http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0), which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.

                History
                : 9 June 2010
                : 9 March 2011
                Categories
                Research

                Health & Social care
                Health & Social care

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